Seriously amazing: The Orchids of Latin America

Cymbidium Heart Joy

Smithsonian Gardens and the U.S. Botanic Garden are presenting the 18th annual orchid exhibition, “Orchids of Latin America,” at the National Museum of Natural History through through April 21.

“Orchids are beloved in Latin America and have great cultural resonance,” said Tom Mirenda, orchid specialist at Smithsonian Gardens. “We feel visitors to this exhibit will enjoy exploring the rich world of orchids and develop a greater understanding of the importance of orchid conservation through orchid research.”

“Beauty, deceit, entrapment….orchids are the soap opera stars of the plant world. While daisies and roses just sit around looking pretty, orchids are busy impersonating insects and advertising themselves with perfumes or the scent of rotting flesh—you can’t top that!” said John Gibbons, press secretary for science.

“The Orchids of Latin America” explores the crossroads where orchid botany, horticulture and Latin American cultures meet. Featuring thousands of plants, the exhibit explains why the region is a hotbed for scientific research on orchid biology and evolution and highlights conservation efforts to preserve them and their habitats for future generations.

“I look forward to this exhibit every year,” said Gibbons, who took these gorgeous photos of some exquisite Latin American beauties.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Posted: 29 January 2013
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.